As part of national Volunteer Week Cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council Paddy O’Rourke hosted an event to acknowledge the contribution of volunteers in Leitrim during the Covid Pandemic.
The event took place in The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon on Thursday evening last and was part of a national evening of events to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by volunteers across the country during Covid.
The main event was held in Dublin Castle and Minister Joe O’Brien was livestreamed to all the events around the country at 7.45.
Speaking from Dublin Castle Minister O’Brien said: “The event I am hosting today, in collaboration with Volunteer Ireland, is in recognition of the vital role played by volunteers during the pandemic.
“Throughout the pandemic, volunteers around the country ensured that the most vulnerable and hard to reach members of our community were supported. Their contribution, no matter how small, was absolutely crucial when so many of our population were isolating.”
Community groups and sporting clubs from around the county attended the event in The Dock.
They were presented with a certificate of appreciation and a letter of appreciation from the Taoiseach, Michaél Martin.
Cllr O’Rourke commended the role volunteers have always played in Leitrim, but especially during Covid they “stepped up” to the challenges of the time. He said “through the Leitrim Community Response Forum, the community and voluntary sector came together to ensure no member of our community was left without access to help.”
Cllr O’Rourke also commended younger people who he said have often been accused of not getting involved with voluntary work but “this was not the case during Covid, as across the county I witnessed the younger people providing help an support in any way they could to those who needed it.”
The Cathaoirleach also acknowledged the recently formed Leitrim Volunteer Unit and welcomed the launch of the Community Car Scheme which would provide much needed transport for those in isolated areas
John Gorman from the Community & Voluntary Supports Unit in the Department of Rural & Community Development attended the event with his wife who hails from Dowra.
Mr Gorman also praised volunteers around the country for their efforts during Covid. But not only during pandemic, as it is estimated over one million people in Ireland volunteer each year (according to the CSO 2013) and annually, this adds up to an economic contribution of €5 billion per year.
Mr Gorman also spoke about the significant benefits to the health and well-being of those who volunteer and in turn how this benefits their communities.
He finished off by showing off a commemorative badge designed by school children as part of a competition ran in primary schools. This introduced the idea of volunteering to young people and their enthusiasm for wanting to help was very evident.
The Community & Voluntary Supports Unit are committed to working further with young people to ensure a sustainable future for volunteering.
For more on the launch of the Community Car Scheme see page 6.
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